George Soros, Stanley Druckenmiller joined by ETF investors abandoning gold

Through Tuesday, holdings in all gold-backed ETFs had the biggest four-day decline since July 2013


This month, investors pulled $576 million from SPDR Gold Shares, the largest exchange-traded fund backed by the metal. Photo: AFP
This month, investors pulled $576 million from SPDR Gold Shares, the largest exchange-traded fund backed by the metal. Photo: AFP

New York: Billionaire investors George Soros and Stanley Druckenmiller aren’t the only ones exiting gold.

This month, investors pulled $576 million from SPDR Gold Shares, the largest exchange-traded fund backed by the metal. That’s more than double the outflows last month, and the biggest since August, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Through Tuesday, holdings in all gold-backed ETFs tracked by Bloomberg around the world had the biggest four-day decline since July 2013.

Bullion futures have slipped almost 4% since the 8 November US presidential election as the dollar rallied and the S&P 500 Index of equities gained. Demand for the metal as a haven has waned as traders price in odds that an improving economy will spur the Federal Reserve to raise US interest rates next month. Donald Trump’s pledge for infrastructure spending and tax cuts are seen widening the budget deficit, boosting bond yields and helping curb the investment appeal of non-interest-bearing gold.

“Investors are abandoning the ship and jumping into risk trade,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK Ltd in London. “The clear trade is to go long for the dollar index, and given that the odds are at 91% for a rate hike in December, you may see this trend of declining open interest for gold to continue.”

As the gold rally faltered in the third quarter, Soros Fund Management sold bullion and bulked up on riskier sectors including energy and emerging markets. A regulatory filing Monday showed Soros unloaded a position in SPDR Gold worth $30.4 million as of 30 June. The firm bought those 240,000 shares in the SPDR ETF in the second quarter, before gold futures capped their best first half in almost four decades.

Druckenmiller, who in May said the metal was his largest currency allocation, sold all of his gold on the night of the US election. As other traders struggled to figure out what a Trump presidency would mean for markets, sending prices on a wild ride, Druckenmiller made a bet on stronger economic growth and rising interest rates, telling CNBC that all the reasons for owning gold the last few years “seem to be ending.”

Traders put the odds that the Fed will raise US rates by December at 96%, up from 66% a month earlier, according to Fed-fund futures data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gold futures for December delivery settled little changed at $1,223.90 an ounce at 1:42 pm on the Comex in New York. Bloomberg

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